- Museum number
Gypsum wall panel depicting, in relief, an attack on an enemy town: these two slabs join, presumably in such a way as to leave a break of a fraction of an inch in the surface, so far as can be judged from the inscription. The Assyrians are attacking from both sides. A group of Assyrian spearmen are attacking across a ditch, and scaling a ladder. Their uniform is distinctive; they wear crested helmets, carry round shields, and have straps across their chests. Appearing first in Tiglath-pileser III's reign, they are probably soldiers drawn from the western half of the empire or from its mountainous fringes. In front a soldier in more traditional Assyrian dress, with a pointed helmet, is cutting off an enemy head. The literal head-count was the standard means of estimating the numbers of enemy dead. Two enemy soldiers are tumbling from the walls, one with his hair falling loose. Some of the bodies have been stripped. Those on the battlements raise their arms in surrender or submission; one is being killed by an Assyrian.
On the adjoining fragment to the right, archers shoot at the town guarded by swordsmen, all their helmets of unusual design, wheeled siege engine with giant spears projecting from the front, enemy impaled on stakes. Only the towers are crenellated, with shooting apertures. The city appears to be built on a solid terrace, which has a crenellated battlement. Some prisoners have been impaled outside the walls, on the right, to serve as a warning to the defenders. The rendering of the ramp on the left is noteworthy. The stamped earth is represented as ending in a loose filling against the walls; in order to show both the assault from ladders and the dispatch of wounded enemies, the loose filling is shown at both ends of the ramp. There is here a mixture of front and side view of the ramp.
There is a portion of one line of inscription on the left-hand slab, and then a new column begins containing 7 lines, the beginning of 6 broken off.
- Production date
Height: 109 centimetres (total including)
Height: 91 centimetres
Thickness: 13 centimetres (total including)
Width: 211 centimetres (total including)
Width: 98 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Part of 1848,1104.4 (BM.118903).
This is the upper half of a panel once divided into two registers by a central band of inscription. The latter stretched all round the room and was a record of the king's entire reign; this extract is not directly related to the carvings, but a separate caption at the top gave the name of the town attacked as U[pa?], possibly in Turkey.
The events of the attack, from beginning to end, are here compressed into a single composition, since the enemy themselves are shown in successive stages of defeat.
For the inscription, see 'Annals'.
An original drawing of this relief is in the British Museum's 'Original Drawings of Assyrian Sculptures' collection: Or.Dr.III, 'Central XXVII: "Assault of a Castle"', and is published in Barnett & Falkner (1962), 'The Sculptures of Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 B.C.)', pl. XXXVII, Layard (1849) 'The Monuments of Nineveh', vol. I, pl. 63, and Unger (1917) 'Die Reliefs Tiglatpilesars III aus Nimrud', no. 8 & pl. II.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013-2014 22 Jun-6 Jan, Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, 'Mesopotamia, Inventing Our World'
2013 30 Jan-13 May, Museum of History, Hong Kong, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2012 4 May-7 Oct, Melbourne Museum, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2011 28 March-26 June, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Splendours of Mesopotamia'
2008-2009 21 Sept-4 Jan, Boston, MFA, 'Art and Empire'
2007 2 Apr-30 Sept, Alicante, MARQ Museum, 'Art and Empire'
2006 1 Jul-7 Oct, Shanghai Museum, 'Art and Empire'
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number